'Hell's Kitchen' cuts Corey Earling, determines Final 2 finalists
By Steve Rogers, 06/25/2008
Corey Earling, a 25-year-old private chef from Brooklyn, NY, became the thirteenth culinary contestant cut from Hell's Kitchen's fourth season by Gordon Ramsay during last night's broadcast of the Fox reality competition series.
"Corey, hold your head up high," Gordon told Corey after announcing her elimination. "You've done bloody well and you should be really proud. And listen, you are one talented girl and you have a dream [so] follow that. Well done."
"I think the compliment chef gave me [is] invaluable and I'm glad that he saw me for what I am," Corey said after her ouster. "I did want to win Hell's Kitchen. I honestly thought I had it [and] the fact that I didn't just means there's something else out there for me."
Hell's Kitchen's thirteenth fourth-season episode picked up immediately after the twelfth episode that ended with Gordon deciding to narrow the field to three finalists by eliminating Jennifer Gavin.
Unsurprisingly, the remaining finalists weren't upset to see their outspoken competitor gone.
"I just feel like this giant weight has been lifted," Christina Machamer, a 25-year-old culinary student from St. Louis, MO, told Corey.
"Ya, I do too," Corey replied.
"Chef Ramsey made the right decision," added Louis Petrozza, a 47-year-old catering director from Charlotte, NC.
"Jen is gone and that just makes me so happy," Christina gushed to the cameras. "I'm just so sick of that presence being here and it's gone!"
After a peaceful night's sleep, the three remaining finalists gathered in Hell's Kitchen's restaurant, where Gordon surprised them with the news that he'd be cooking them one of his signature dishes and some "special guests" -- their loved ones -- would be enjoying the meal with them.
While Corey and Petrozza used the meal as an opportunity to spend time with their loved ones, Christina -- correctly suspecting that the meal wasn't simply a reward -- focused more on trying to determine exactly what Gordon was serving them.
"There's always a twist to everything, so you got to really be on your toes," Christina told her mother.
"So what do we have to [do], guess the ingredients?" Christina's mother replied.
"I was trying to enjoy my time with my parents but I was also trying to figure out what was in the dish because that was the only thing that I could think of that'd we'd have to do," Christina explained afterwards.
Sure enough, Gordon soon reappeared and informed the finalists that not only was it time to say goodbye to their families, but the next challenge would require each of the three to attempt to recreate Gordon's dish in 45 minutes.
All three of the finalists managed to finish their recreation attempts within the 45 minute period, however none of them was able to replicate the dish perfectly.
After initially starting with filet of buffalo, Petrozza determined that venison striploin was the correct meat used in the dish. Christina had also correctly initially identified venison striploin as the dish's meat, however Corey ended up preparing her dish using filet of buffalo.
All three finalists correctly included pancetta, carrots, onions, cabbage, and parsley in their dishes, however Christina was the only one to figure out that Gordon's dish also included a white bean puree. Corey made a potato parsnip puree while Petrozza failed to include any puree.
Corey was the only one to correctly put cream in the cabbage and get the sauce right, however the fact that she'd used the wrong meat was too much for Gordon to overlook, resulting in Christina winning the challenge despite that fact she'd ignored her mother's suggestion that the dish had contained cream.
"Petrozza, [you're] a very close second again," Gordon said. "If you'd put some form of a puree on there you'd have won."
"My mom said cream and hello, I didn't listen to her," Christina joked later. "I guess that's one of those times you should have listened to your mom."
"The meat is the most important thing, [I] definitely felt pretty dumb," Corey lamented afterwards.
As her reward, Christina got to go on a doubledecker bus tour of Los Angeles with her parents and Gordon while Corey and Petrozza remained in the restaurant and went on "bar duty" -- an assignment that required them to polish glasses and manually break up large blocks of ice with ice picks.
"Pretty well done today," Gordon told Christina as he enjoyed a three-course meal with Christina and her parents. "I don't think we've ever had anyone who has won so many challenges back-to-back."
After her reward trip ended, Christina rejoined Corey and Petrozza at the restaurant and Gordon informed the threesome that the night's dinner service would feature a new twist -- each of the three finalists would spend a portion of the night running the hot plate station normally manned by Gordon.
Once the dinner service began, Hell's Kitchen sous chefs Scott and Gloria informed Gordon of the sabotage tests they'd devised to test the finalists: lumpy mashed potatoes incorrectly finished with basil instead of mint, risotto that was missing its peas, and switching the venison and lamb sauces.
Petrozza was the first one to get his turn on the hot plate station and although he failed to detect Scott's pea-less risotto, he did notice several over-cooked scallop, under-cooked salmon, and prawn-less dishes that Christina had prepared. Things eventually got so bad Gordon asked Christina if she was intentionally trying to sabotage Petrozza, a charge she denied.
"I don't what happened, I got totally confused and it just [became] a hot-ass mess," Christina explained later. "Why would I sabotage Petrozza by looking like an ass myself?"
Overall, Gordon seemed pleased with Petrozza's performance.
"Well done Petrozza," said Gordon. "I told you to get assertive -- you run the kitchen it doesn't run you, well done."
Corey was the next one to take over the hot plate station and similar to Petrozza, she failed to detect that Scott had sent the wrong sauce with his beef Wellington until after she'd already poured it on the meat.
"I caught the mistake but it just happened to be a little too late," Corey explained later. "I don't think I did a good job on the [hot plate] tonight... I could be going home."
Christina was the last finalist to man Gordon's usual station, and despite her earlier fish station struggles, she did well and managed to become the only finalist to correctly detect Gordon's sabotage attempt (in her case, mashed potatoes with basil instead of mint).
"I did do well at [hot plate station] so I hope it's enough, really, to keep me here," Christina lamented afterwards.
After the dinner service ended, Gordon forced each finalist to nominate another finalist for elimination. Corey and Petrozza both chose to nominate Christina while Christina nominated Corey.
"This is the moment I dread and honestly one of the hardest moments for me so far in Hell's Kitchen," said Gordon. "I've become close to all three of you and I like you all a lot. We've had our highs and our lows but... I'm so proud of all three of you standing there. This is the bit I don't enjoy.
Gordon then declared Petrozza would be one of Hell's Kitchen's fourth-season Final 2 finalists, leaving Corey and Christina to each state their cases as to why they deserved the other slot.
After deliberating, Gordon decided to overlook Christina's fish station struggles and send Corey home.
"This is a decision based on everything both of you have done inside Hell's Kitchen," Gordon explained before revealing Corey's elimination.
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